A Climate Service in NOAA

Update of Recent Efforts to Establish a Climate Service in NOAA

December 8, 2011

On February 14, 2011, President Obama submitted a fiscal year 2012 budget to Congress that contained a budget-neutral reorganization proposal that would bring together NOAA’s existing but dispersed climate capabilities under a single organizational unit – a Climate Service line office. 

After extensive review and consideration, the proposed reorganization was not included as part of the recently passed fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill, which President Obama signed into law on November 18. 

Although we are certainly disappointed that Congress did not ultimately approve creation of the proposed Climate Service Line Office structure in the FY 2012 budget, we appreciate the tremendous support that our staff, our partners and so many in Congress gave to the proposed reorganization in recognition of its potential value in helping meet our nation’s growing need for climate information.

Building on efforts initiated in the previous Administration, the proposal’s overarching goal was to create a more efficient and effective organizational structure within NOAA to improve our delivery of the critical climate and long-range hazard information that Americans are increasingly demanding — from early warning flood and drought forecasts to hurricane outlooks to sea level projections.

Congress’ decision in no way diminishes the outstanding work of the many dedicated NOAA staff that contributed to the development of this targeted, good government proposal, nor does it dampen NOAA’s important mission to advance our understanding of the climate and provide the timely and trusted climate products and services on which Americans depend.  

Due to the challenging fiscal environment facing our nation, funding for some of our core climate research and monitoring efforts was reduced in FY 2012.  However, we do appreciate Congress’ continued recognition of NOAA’s climate mission and world-class capabilities.

As a sound steward of American taxpayer dollars, NOAA will continue to work as efficiently and effectively as possible under our current organizational structure and within the resources we are provided to meet the growing public demand for information — like long-term trends in temperature, precipitation, sea level change, and extreme events — so that citizens can make informed choices to keep their families, businesses and communities safe and economically resilient.

In difficult economic times, citizens, businesses, local governments, emergency managers, and others need this critical information more than ever to prepare for and become more resilient to our changing environment.  Some recent examples of these critical NOAA’s services include:

Above all, we remain committed to strengthening NOAA’s relationships with our academic, private sector, government and international partners and stakeholders in the larger climate science and service enterprise. They play a critical role in helping NOAA continue to improve the many products and services the nation relies on to protect lives and property and strengthen our economy.

NOAA's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request


NOAA's Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Request included a reorganization proposal that sought to bring together its existing widely dispersed climate capabilities under a single line office management structure, the Climate Service.

The principal goal of this reorganization was to more efficiently and effectively respond to the rapidly increasing demand for easily accessible and timely scientific data and information about climate that helps people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities. NOAA provides this to citizens as climate services.

The Climate Service would have allowed NOAA to provide a reliable and authoritative source for climate data, information, and decision support services and to more effectively coordinate with other agencies and partners.

This website provides the context and background materials concerning the request to establish a Climate Service in NOAA.

Relevant Materials Used to Support the Proposal to Establish a Climate Service in NOAA

During FY '11 and FY '12, NOAA worked closely with Congress to help them understand the details of the proposal to establish a Climate Service in NOAA. The following materials helped support this proposal:

Vision and Strategic Framework for NOAA Climate Services

This Vision and Strategic Framework describes how NOAA proposed to respond to society's growing need for climate services. It described the vision for a Climate Service line office and outlined the best approach to achieving that vision.

National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Study on a NOAA Climate Service

Congress asked the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct a study about NOAA's proposed climate service. The study, completed in Sept 2010, agreed with the need to establish a Climate Service at NOAA, and provided some valuable suggestions for design and implementation.


The timeline below lists the major milestones in reverse chronological order for the goal of establishing a climate service over the last year.

Other NOAA Climate Activities and Climate Information

Interagency Activities

NOAA recognizes that no single agency can fulfill the growing need for climate services. We envisioned the new Climate Service as a streamlined and coordinated line office positioned to contribute to partnerships across the federal governments and other regional climate service providers. The proposed Climate Service was to participate fully in Federal interagency partnerships, which are vital to fulfilling the demand for climate services.

About Climate and Climate Change